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Moorhead v. Klene

United States District Court, W.D. Texas, Austin Division

September 9, 2019

JORDAN MOORHEAD, Plaintiff,
v.
ELIZABETH JACOBSON KLENE, Defendant.

          ORDER

          SUSAN HIGHTOWER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Before this Court are Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Defendant's Answers to Plaintiff's Interrogatory No. 8 and Request for Production No. 9, filed on July 19, 2019 (Dkt. No. 10); Defendant's Response, filed on August 7, 2019 (Dkt. No. 13); and Plaintiff's Reply, filed on August 14, 2019 (Dkt. No. 15). On July 22, 2019, the District Court referred the above motion and related filings to the undersigned Magistrate Judge for resolution pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A), Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72, and Rule 1(c) of Appendix C of the Local Rules of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas (“Local Rules”).

         I. Background

         This case arises out of an automobile collision that occurred on October, 26, 2018, in Travis County, Texas. Plaintiff Jordan Moorhead (“Plaintiff”) alleges that Elizabeth Jacobson Klene (“Defendant”) negligently failed to yield to Plaintiff's motorcycle while he was traveling on Ranch to Market Road 2244, causing him to crash into Defendant's vehicle. Plaintiff alleges that he suffered severe injuries as a result of the collision.

         On March 4, 2019, Plaintiff, a citizen of Texas, filed this negligence lawsuit against Defendant, a citizen of Utah, invoking this Court's diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. On March 28, 2019, Defendant filed an Answer denying negligence and asserting that Plaintiff was at fault for the collision. See Dkt No. 5.

         Plaintiff alleges that the initial discovery in the case shows that Defendant's vehicle failed to yield to oncoming traffic. Plaintiff contends that the “lack of any attempt to yield supports an inference that Ms. Klene may have been distracted while driving.” Dkt. No. 10 at p. 2. Accordingly, on May 29, 2019, Plaintiff served his Second Set of Interrogatories on Defendant and asked, in relevant part, the following:

INTERROGATORY NO. 8
For each cellular telephone that You had on You on the day of the Subject Incident, please provide the cell phone number and cell phone provider (T-Mobile, AT&T, etc.).
REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION NO. 9
All Your cellular phone records for the period of 2 hours before the Subject Incident to 2 hours after the Subject Incident.

Dkt. Nos. 10-4 at p. 4 and 10-7 at p. 5. Defendant objected to both discovery requests on the bases that the requests were overly broad, sought irrelevant information, and violated the privacy rights of Defendant and non-parties. After the parties failed to resolve the dispute, Plaintiff filed this Motion to Compel seeking an order compelling Defendant to respond appropriately to the above discovery requests. Plaintiff has now limited his Request for Production No. 9 to “all cellular phone records reflecting incoming and outgoing telephone calls and text messages for the period of thirty minutes before and thirty minutes after the incident made the basis of the lawsuit.” Plaintiff's Reply at p. 1. Plaintiff further “offers to enter into a protective order to keep Defendant's information and records confidential.” Id.

         II. Analysis

         A. Legal Standards

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)(1) provides that “Parties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). “The scope of discovery is broad and permits the discovery of ‘any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense.'” Crosby v. La. Health Serv. & Indem. Co., 647 F.3d 258, 262 (5th Cir. 2011) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1)). “A discovery request is relevant when the request seeks admissible evidence or ‘is reasonably ...


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